The easiest homemade Vegan Challah bread recipe! Soft, pillowy and plush, this vegan challah tastes just like traditional Challah bread, yet is completely egg free (and of course dairy free!).

sliced challah bread with sesame seeds

If you adore the traditional Jewish recipe of challah bread, but need an entirely vegan version, then you’re going to love this vegan challah bread. 

Inspired by the classic, this vegan challah bread is closer in relation to the egg challah, but uses water, like water challah, to achieve its super rich moisture and fluffy texture.

Jared and his family just adore this vegan challah bread. We love to make and enjoy it for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, or to enjoy a veganized challah French toast for a delicious vegan breakfast (and even a vegan French toast casserole for the holiday season!). It’s so good that I actually included the recipe in my cookbook

Similar to vegan brioche bread, this vegan challah bread is soft, pillowy and sweet. Glazed with a vegan egg wash and sprinkled with sesame seeds, this vegan challah bread will soon become a staple vegan bread recipe in your household!

close up of vegan challah bread

Challah bread vs. Brioche bread

You might be wondering how challah bread differs from brioche if you’ve never made challah before. While the traditional versions are both enriched doughs (since they contain either or both a fat and eggs), challah bread and brioche bread are made with slightly different ratios and ingredients.

Brioche bread is typically made with both milk and butter, along with eggs, while challah bread is made with water, oil, and eggs (as it needs to be dairy free). 

While challah bread is always dairy free, it is not always vegan, as it contains eggs in one way or another. 

Egg Challah vs. Water Challah

There are actually a few different version of challah bread in general. The one that we’re making today is most similar to egg challah. We’re replacing the eggs with a vegan egg replacement (dairy free yogurt), and adding some water for extra moisture.

Egg challah is made with eggs and oil, along with other bread ingredients, like yeast, water, salt, and flour, and tastes very closely to brioche bread. Water challah is made with just water and oil, along with the other bread ingredients. 

However, it’s important to note that if you’re purchasing a store bought water challah, it might still not be vegan because of the egg wash on top. This is why water challah is not usually noted as vegan. 

I do have a vegan water challah bread in my cookbook, which just uses water and a neutral oil. Either version is equally delicious!

sliced vegan challah bread

Vegan challah recipe ingredients:

Before we begin with making the vegan Challah bread, let’s go over the ingredients first. For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • Warm water (between 110F and 115F- any hotter, and the yeast will die. Any cooler, and the yeast won’t activate)
  • Organic granulated sugar: I used Florida Crystals to ensure that it’s entirely vegan. 
  • All-purpose flour: You can also use bread flour here. 
  • Neutral oil: You can use avocado oil, olive oil, or vegetable oil. Alternatively, you can also use triple refined coconut oil (to ensure that there’s no coconut taste!). 
  • Quick rise yeast: The method I outline below is specifically for quick rise yeast, or instant yeast depending on the brand. This is to help make our vegan challah breadloaves. The water challah in my cookbook uses active dry yeast, so you can use that there.
  • Dairy free yogurt: This is the vegan egg replacement. I prefer it over using other options, like pumpkin or applesauce, or even sweet potato, because it adds fat to the dough, much like eggs traditionally do. However, those options will work as a 1:1 substitute if you only have those. 
  • Vegan egg wash: a combination of maple syrup and dairy free milk to give our vegan challah bread a golden brown crust. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you’d like too!
  • Salt: Just for flavoring!

Pretty standard bread ingredients, right? I know it sounds crazy that just these ingredients can yield a completely egg free water Challah bread, but trust me, this works!

Overview: How to make vegan challah bread:

While making a 6 braided challah bread seems complicated, it’s actually quite simple! We’ll first start by making the dough, and letting it rise. Then we’ll move onto shaping the vegan challah bread.

Start by making the dough:

Much like any bread recipe, you can use a stand mixer or simply a wooden spoon and a bowl. Because we’re using quick rise yeast, we’ll whisk the yeast right into our flour mixture. Then we’ll add in the warm water, dairy free yogurt, and neutral oil. Knead the dough in the bowl on high speed or on a floured work surface for 10 minutes, until you successfully pass the window pane test

Then place the dough into a greased bowl, and cover to rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).

how to make challah bread dough

How to braid challah bread with 6 strands:

I personally love a challenge, and a 6 braided challah bread certainly does seem confusing at first.

However, following these images, along with this video tutorial, you’ll be a pro in no time.

Lightly flour a clean work surface. Then you’ll first divide the dough into 6 even pieces. You can use a kitchen scale to achieve more accuracy. Roll out each dough piece to be 18″ long. 

Then pinch the tops of each strand together on one side, so you have strands splayed out. 

Next, take the right outermost strand, and cross it over the top. Then take the left outermost strand, and cross it over the right at the top. Now you’ll have two of the strands at the top, and four middle strands. Spread the four middle strands out a bit with two on either side so you know the middle.

Next, take the right outermost strand and cross it over to the middle of the four strands. Then take the second to the outermost left strand, and cross that over to the right, to be the outermost strand on the right now.

Now, repeat for the other side. Take the left outermost strand and cross it over to the middle of the four strands. Then take the second to the outermost right strand, and cross that over to the left, to be the outermost strand on the left now. 

how to braid vegan challah bread

Repeat this pattern for the entirety of braiding your vegan challah bread. I also recommend watching the video tutorial here to help as well. 

Proof again and bake:

Once your vegan challah bread is braided, you’ll cover it on a piece of parchment paper lined on a baking sheet to rest for another hour, or until doubled in size again. 

Once proofed, brush the challah bread with the vegan egg wash, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place the challah bread into the preheated oven to bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.

challah bread proofing

How to serve challah bread:

Challah bread is wonderful enjoyed on its own, but here are a few ways that we like to enjoy it:

baked vegan challah bread

Recipe FAQ’s

Can I make this vegan challah gluten free?

I have not yet developed a gluten free vegan version of this challah bread, but do stay tuned! I’m also working on the gluten free version for our vegan brioche bread. To me, it’s so important that the gluten free versions live up to their gluten-counterparts, so I want to make sure it’s perfect! 

For now, check out a few more gluten free bread recipes we have on the blog here.

Do I need a stand mixer? 

While I prefer to make this recipe with a stand mixer and dough hook attachment, it’s not necessary. In fact, the first water challah I made was by hand!

Can I omit the sesame seeds?

Of course! If you don’t have sesame seeds for a topping, not a problem at all. You could also use poppy seeds if you’d like!

Can I freeze vegan challah?

Absolutely. If you’ve made this challah bread recipe and there’s a ton leftover, simply wrap the slices in plastic wrap tightly, and store in an airtight bag. Then freeze the bread for up to 3 months. You can then thaw the bread in the fridge over night, or simply toast it using a toaster oven.

Are there other options for shaping vegan challah bread other than a 6-stranded braid?

Yes, of course! If you wanted to make a simple braided challah bread with only 3 strands, and wrap it into a round challah, that’s absolutely do-able. You can also make a 4-stranded challah bread!

sliced vegan challah bread

You are just going to absolutely love love this vegan Challah bead recipe!  If you give it a go, let me know down below in the comments section.

As always, I love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there!

Happy bread making!

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

vegan challah bread pinterest pin
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vegan challah bread on cloth

Soft & Pillowy Vegan Challah Bread Recipe

  • Author: Britt Berlin
  • Prep Time: 90
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 15 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Jewish
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

The easiest homemade Vegan Challah bread recipe! Soft, pillowy and plush, this vegan challah tastes just like traditional Challah bread, yet is completely egg free (and of course dairy free!).


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) warm water
  • 4 cups (550 g) bread flour or all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2.5 tsp (.25 oz) quick rise yeast
  • 12 tbsp (185 g) neutral oil*
  • 1/4 cup (62.5 grams) dairy free yogurt, room temperature*
  • vegan “egg” wash*
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Please read through all instructions before beginning.
  2. Prep: Grease a medium bowl with olive or coconut oil, and set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk the dry ingredients: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Attach the bowl to the stand mixer, along with the dough hook attachment. Alternatively, you can mix the dough by hand using a wooden spoon and no stand mixer. 
  4. Make the dough: Add the water and the dairy free yogurt to the bowl. Mix on medium speed until a very shaggy dough forms, about 3-4 minutes. Then add in the tablespoons of oil, and begin to mix again on medium speed. Stop every so often to reincorporate the oil. Once the oil is incorporated, turn the speed of the stand mixer onto high, and allow the dough to be kneaded in the bowl for about 10-15 minutes, or until soft and pliable. The dough might still be slightly tacky, but should not leave globs of dough on your finger tip.
  5. Knead the dough: Once it starts to form a ball, lightly flour a clean surface and shape the dough into a ball. 
  6. First proof: Place the dough ball into the medium sized greased bowl. Cover with a clean dish towel and place in a warm area (ideally above 80F) to rest for about 60-120 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  7. Shape the challah bread: I’ll be describing how to braid a 6-braided challah bread. Please see the blog post for alternative options:
    1. Lightly flour a clean work surface. Then you’ll first divide the dough into 6 even pieces. You can use a kitchen scale to achieve more accuracy. Roll out each dough piece to be 18″ long. 

    2. Then pinch the tops of each strand together on one side, so you have strands splayed out. 

    3. Next, take the right outermost strand, and cross it over the top. Then take the left outermost strand, and cross it over the right at the top. Now you’ll have two of the strands at the top, and four middle strands. Spread the four middle strands out a bit with two on either side so you know the middle.

    4. Next, take the right outermost strand and cross it over to the middle of the four strands. Then take the second to the outermost left strand, and cross that over to the right, to be the outermost strand on the right now.

    5. Now, repeat for the other side. Take the left outermost strand and cross it over to the middle of the four strands. Then take the second to the outermost right strand, and cross that over to the left, to be the outermost strand on the left now. 

    6. Repeat this pattern for the entirety of braiding your vegan challah bread. I also recommend watching the video tutorial here to help as well.

  8. Proof: Carefully transfer the challah dough over to your baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover in a warm area (no more than 95F- an oven turned off but with the light on is fine) to rise until double in size, about 1 hour.
  9. Brush with vegan egg wash: Preheat the oven to 375F. Mix the maple syrup and dairy free milk together, then brush the tops of the challah bread with the vegan egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
  10. Bake: Place the vegan challah bread into the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.
  11. Slice and serve! 

Notes

Quick rise yeast: This method is designed for instant yeast (quick rise yeast). If you’d like to use active dry yeast, please follow the water challah recipe in my cookbook

Neutral oil: You can use coconut oil (triple refined for no flavor), avocado oil, vegetable oil, or olive oil.

Dairy free yogurt: you can also use an equal amount of pumpkin puree, applesauce, or cooked sweet potato in lieu of the yogurt. 

Vegan egg wash: Mix together 1 tbsp maple syrup and 1 tbsp of dairy free milk, such as soy milk.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/15 of loaf
  • Calories: 178
  • Sugar: 5.7 g
  • Sodium: 5.3 mg
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 31.3 g
  • Protein: 3.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: vegan Challah bread, easy Challah bread, water Challah bread, vegan challah